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Shape-Changing Truss Robots

We are developing a class of robotic trusses that are capable of activley changing their shape. In [1] we introduce an truss robot that is composed primarily of inflated fabric tubes, and is capable of locomotion and object manipulation. 


We have also developed control algorithms for truss robots. In [2] we derive the  differential kinematics of such robots, and formalize concepts of controllability based on graph rigidity.  Control methods are then developed for two separate applications: locomotion and shape morphing. The control algorithm in both cases solves a series of linearly constrained quadratic programs at each time step to minimize an objective function while ensuring physical feasibility. We present simulation results for both locomotion along a prescribed path, and morphing to a target shape.




[1] N. S. Usevitch*, Z. M. Hammond*, M. Schwager, A. M. Okamura, E. W. Hawkes+, S. Follmer+, An untethered isoperimetric soft robot. Science Robotics. 4,  2020. DOI: 10.1126/scirobotics.aaz0492

[2] N. S. Usevitch, Z. M. Hammond, S. Follmer, M. Schwager. Linear Actuator Robots: Differential Kinematics, Controllability, and Algorithms for Locomotion and Shape Morphing. In IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, 2017.


*,+ These authors contributed equally.